Tag Archives: vacation

Let’s Take a Break, Shall We?

Let’s take a break from all this introspection and all these deep thoughts. So, I hear you asking, what has AngloAm been up to recently?

After our vacation to South Carolina, the dh and I went to visit my mum and dad in Venice, Florida. We flew down from BWI to Tampa which was an interesting flight. There was a loud woman on board with her (rather cute) husband, but they weren’t seated together, so she spent quite some time ordering him to ask those around him to move and shift positions and put themselves out so she could sit near him, and hand off their quiet baby to him. We get to Tampa and it’s balls-hot. After the crispness of Maryland, it hit us like a hot wet blanket – FWOMP.

We got the rental car and drove off down to Venice and to mum and dad’s condo. I must say it was nicer than I thought it would be. It’s small, but not much smaller than my house, all on one floor with a garage, a lanai (covered porch) and a view over the pond where we saw an alligator swimming about:

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The next day we took a trip around Venice, Nokomis and the cities’ beaches. Venice’s downtown is really nice; some of the main street is lined with palm trees and some with banyan trees. The shops aren’t too twee and anytime there’s an official city beach you know it’s a place for pleasant living. I must also admit that there weren’t as many geriatrics or facilities for geriatrics as I thought there would be. After seeing the main town we had lunch by the town canal and drove to some orange groves near a neighbourhood which was a bit less perfect and manicured than most of the condo and villa pool and golf course communities in town:
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After the tour, and a trip up Casey Key where the rich and ostentatious live, dh and I went to Caspersen Beach. This by the way, was the very furthest south I’ve ever been so far. The water was incredible in the Gulf of Mexico – as warm as bath water. You didn’t have to ‘get used to it’ on getting in. And the waves were a lot less pound-y than on the Atlantic:
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The big draw, though, in the late afternoon, is sunset over the Gulf. It’s incredible:
Sunset Venice Beach

What about the eye candy?

I guess if we’re getting back to normal, we’d better go all the way, and who better to go all the way with than our nearly forgotten Brazilian beach and pool boy, Bruno Schuind, here hopefully with some sun block on:

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(Do you see a certain tendency in where the speedo’s going?)

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We’re back!

Yes, we’re back from our annual “big” vacation, back from Pawley’s Island, SC. (Well, Litchfield, just north of it actually.)

Day One: Off to Pawleys

We set off for Pawleys Island Friday at around 8 pm. I was initially a bit worried about setting out after a day at work and in fact we both confessed to each other that we were oddly nervous. C had taken the day off and packed everything from the pillows and towels to our clothes and the crock pot. We packed up the truck and headed out as the sun was setting. I made it quite well to the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Emporia, VA, by about 12 midnight. Not too tired, either. The hotel was quite acceptable for one night.

Generally, the ride was okay, bit clogged through Waldorf, but it always is. We stopped at Starbucks for a coffee along the way to keep me awake. South of Waldorf the traffic spun right down and we crossed the Nice bridge into Virginia with no problems. We decided we really wanted Burger King for dinner and where VA207 hits I-95 we were sure we’d find one but we had to go one exit down to Doswell. I hate roadside fast food joints; this one was full of shouting Latinas and the toilets were smelly. And full. Ugh.

As always, I-295 around Richmond was boring, except some rather pushy road racers enlivened things, unwelcomely. Zipped around Richmond and down the long southern leg of the road without too much trouble. We should have stopped there at a better place for dinner. As I say got to the hotel late, so had to humpf the night bag (toiletries and a change of clothes each) and the camera gear across the hotel’s parking lot.

Day Two: Onwards to the House

Saturday morning we woke and had the hotel’s free ‘continental breakfast.’ I was a bit miffed as I thought, and led C to believe, that there would be ‘meat disks’ and ‘egg disks’ like he likes at the hotel we stay in in Somers Point, in New Jersey. Alas there were only hockey puck like biscuits with sausage to microwave, and the usual assortment of baked goods. And the coffee was horrid. On the way out of the town we stopped to get some snacky-poos and drinks for the trip.

Somehow the drive was more tedious than the run the night before. I continue to be amazed at the amount of trouble and congestion people’s lack of any lane discipline creates. Stopped for gas and more snacks still inside North Carolina but before that horribly tacky ‘South of the Border.’

The car had us go through Latta on surface routes and we noticed some really nice old houses; not too self-consciously antebellum. And of course, the new-look South Carolina highway shields are popping up all over. I think they look great:


The new improvements to US501 from I-95 are welcome, but they still have to do something about the traffic in and around Conway. Pretty clogged as always. We took SC701 I think around the worst of Myrtle Beach and on down to US17. US17 down to Pawleys. Because we were a little early, we lunched at Hardees, again, not too clean. Got the keys and back up to Litchfield where we were staying at “Southern Comfort.” Litchfield is a gated community and as such we have a proper little pass to drive in.

The house is nice, but I don’t like all the stairs. I felt terrible as C had to do most of the hauling in but after the first flight of stairs I was done in. Heart pounding, gasping done in.

Back out to the Piggly Wiggly to get provisions for the week and I have to confess I wasn’t much help; I was still sore from the first set of hauling. On the way we saw an alligator in the pond! I was entranced; I’d never seen one before. I wished it weren’t swimming away from us but so is life. We may have a photograph of it to add, but it was rushed.

I think C did about five trips in all; and to get the food and stuff to the kitchen each trip was two long flights.

Afterwards we were not too tired to go down to the pool but we didn’t stay long. We cooked corn and brats and very nice they were too. C made the bed and we were in quite early. (See a pattern here? He really is a wonderful partner.)

Day Three: Lazy Day Number One

Sunday dawned bright and early, but I didn’t. I was very late out of bed. Hey, it’s a vacation.

Didn’t do much; the weather was very dull and gray and verging on chilly. We did watch TV and sit around. Eggs on toast for brekkies, left over brats for lunch and crockpot pot roast for dinner. Mmm good. I don’t think I moved from the couch except when necessary. I did go on line a bit but there is no desk and the dining room chairs are very uncomfortable.

C was wonderful taking care of me. I do love him.

Day Four: Lazy Day Number Two

Up just as late, but the weather was still dreary. Cereal for brekkies, salad for lunch, pot roast sandwiches and salad for dinner. Actually the sandwiches were very good. Television for entertainment.

Well, we did go down to the pool a bit. Not much else. It was that kind of day. Four hour nap. That kind of a date.

Day Five: Slightly Less Lazy Day

We actually bestirred ourselves today. In the morning we trotted off to the Food Lion after driving around Pawleys Island (and marveling at the number of houses for sale – it’s the same here in Litchfield). Got a few bits and bobs and needful things and then tried to track down Cinzano Bianco. We’ve found Cinzano Rosso, which I liked (C not so much) and we bought Martini & Rossi Bianco, but it has a very vegetable aftertaste and may be good only as antifreeze (or pro-freeze for the growler – our portable cooler that plugs in and makes a growling sound from the back of the car).

Lunch at Sonic. Why do they advertise it so much in Maryland where there aren’t any in Maryland? I had a big (but not very nice) hot dog with cheesy tots and a chocolate malted. I think it was just too much.

Home and down to the pool; it was the first sunny day of the week so far. The pool was still cold but lying there was so warm. So warm I wished I had a book…and of course C offered to find a Borders to get me one.

He’s so great.

Made a very unwanted discovery; there’s no DVD player in this house. Not too happy as I’d looked forward to seeing the last three episodes of ‘The Grafters’ and some of the other DVDs I’d brought with me. I think C also wanted to watch ‘Rome’ as well. Grrr.

We went off to Myrtle Beach to the Barnes and Noble and I got a book by Donna Leon who was recommended by my mum; she’s an American writer who lives and sets her mysteries in Venice. I hope it will be just the kind of light, beachy book that’s just right for vacation. I also shopped around for a good book on iLife, specifically iWeb. Apparently iWeb is very easy and you don’t get many books on it.

After dinner we went to Carabbas in Murrells Inlet for dinner to celebrate ten years together. Ten years ago, at 11:40 on 8 September 1999, we physically met for the first time at the baggage claim at Dulles airport. Best development in my life.

Home and straight to bed. At 9:45.

Day Six: Pensive but Good

Cereal for breakfast, cheese and crackers for lunch, chicken cacciatore for dinner (from the crock pot).

Lovely day. Woke up very late but C had been up since around 0600. I don’t know how he does it. Finally pulled out this computer for ‘comfortable’ surfing but really detested those uncomfortable dining room seats. Again sunny and lovely and went down to the pool which was a lot warmer than before. Swam and bobbed and played around but didn’t lie out; even with the book. We really must get beyond the pool to the ocean soon. And take some pictures.

I kept wondering if I’m wasting this vacation but I guess I’m not. It doesn’t take much for me to slip into vacation mode; where time is very flexible and one drifts from thing to thing as the whim takes one.

Well, today was an odd day here at the beach.

Started off early; we went to Eggs Up Grill for breakfast. It’s really nice and not very hard to see why it gets so crowded on weekends. I had country ham and C had his usual. Mmm good.

To the grocery store next to pick up a few things, snacks, sodas, a rock mellon (cantaloupe), some more butter, bread, etc.

Came back to the house and that was it. I was very conflicted; the computer and internet seemed to trap me but I kept thinking I ought to go down to the pool or beach. Heck, we’ve not been to the beach at all this holiday and it’s so close to ending, I was thinking. But in the end laziness or the internet was the glue that kept me sitting at my screen doing very little “holiday.” Except maybe for wasting time. That’s holiday-ish, right?

I dunno.

Anyway, in the evening we went to Roiz Churrascaria in Myrtle Beach. Talk about a load of meat! We found out that you can ‘go green’ then ‘red’ to take a break, and back to ‘green’ when you want to eat more. I guzzled and C guzzled most of what the gauchos brought around. Some of the gauchos were rather handsome and I thought one was flirting with me. Alas! But a good thing, really.

Came home just in time to watch the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ which was good and ‘Watch What Happens Live’ with Andy Cohen which was painful. Clue, Andy: Not every man you want to sleep with is gay. Whaddaya think about that?

That’s quite enough for now; to come are our last day and the marathon drive home. And what we did when we got there.

And Now for Something Rather Different

Bruno Schuind, modelling traditional tighty-whities and doing it rather well…click on the smaller bordered ones to see them bigger and bigger….

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Bruno Schuind 01_01

(So clean and tidy looking, just like our thoughts? Or not…)

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A Much Needed Break

C and I are back from our well-deserved and much-needed break and vacation. We went for a week to a beach house in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. With everything that’s been happening we really needed the relaxation and luckily we got it.


Saturday we drove down – it’s about eight hours or so. We took the Beltway around to MD 5 Branch Avenue to Waldorf, picked up US 301 South over the Governor Nice Bridge, past Dahlgren, Fort A. P. Hill, along the new Bowling Green bypass and went on to I-95 South. The gas stations near I-95 were asking a mind-boggling $4.50 for a gallon, perhaps price gouging in response to Hurricane Ike. We took I-295 around Richmond and rejoined I-95 out of Virginia, through North Carolina, and into South Carolina. Exiting onto SC 38 we joined US 501 at Latta, SC, and took that down to SC 707 through Socastee bypassing Myrtle Beach and on to US 17 South to Pawleys. The house we rented, “762 McInnes” in this web site of the company renting it out is the third to last on the island, all the way down at the south end.

Monday – Friday

We did very little except sit on the beach or the deck, swim in the ocean, or laze around the house. And boy did we need it. We didn’t squabble or stress once the whole time.

Here are some pictures C and I took…click on each to make it bigger and the bigger image to render it in full glorious size – for the first time I’m so proud of the views that I recommend seeing them as big as possible.  I don’t know why the captions are printed so LARGE!…


Drove back the same way, except didn’t bypass Richmond (drove straight through), gas was cheaper, and we took I-95 all the way back to the Beltway (big mistake!). I was looking for a Starbucks to get a caffeine jolt and take a pit stop; C valiantly tried to guide me through Richmond and up the highway to one, but the only one we could find was actually inside King’s Dominion which was closed.


Oh, and I did work out once during the trip, ate okay and am ditching Neal. I’m really p’ssed off that (for example) he asked me to get a list of all the equipment at the gym to write me up a routine, and then never did; I had to do all the research myself (figured out that it’s best to stick to compound exercises first, for example) and all he did was go ‘uh huh’ when I showed him my list.

And then the last time he came over he talked for 60 minutes of my 75 minute work out session, and this after my having told him I was unhappy with the time spent yacking.


More to come! Goodness, it’s sad that I don’t have a pre-made category for “Fun.” <clicks> There, I’ve made one for this post.

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Return of the C and Me

C & I are back from our mini-break to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Friday we went up to Mount Pocono, PA, via Centralia. For those who don’t know, Centralia is pretty much a ghost town now. Back in 1962, somebody thought it’d be a really great idea to clean out the town dump for a Memorial Day clean up campaign by setting fire to all the trash. Apparently this was common back then. Trouble was that one end of the dump had an opening to the anthracite coal which lies under the town, the mining of which was the town’s main economic engine.

Anthracite burns hot and long and gives off poisonous gases, like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and many sulfur compounds. As the fire raged, it slowly moved under residents’ houses, filling their basements with dangerous gas and causing them nausea, loss of consciousness and one man to collapse and require hospitalization. At one point half the houses had monitors installed to detect sudden, potentially lethal spikes in the amount of poison, or equally deadly drops in the level of oxygen. Various arms and branches of the government pointed various fingers at each other and as my dad would say futz around trying to fix things.

The ‘final solution’ was for the federal government to buy out the entire borough lock stock and gassy barrel, knock all the houses and businesses down and let the fire burn itself out, over a hundred years or so. Most took the offer and left, but a few are still there, in ever dwindling numbers, in their little narrow row houses, all alone on streets that were once filled with others but are now just empty grassy open space, a ghost town with an orderly grid of streets, but no houses, with a Centralia, PAtown hall but no town, a fire company, but no way to put out its most dangerous fire. You can read more about Centralia on an excellent site with lots of photos here and a site with more of a local residents’ focus here.  C & I scampered about the impact zone where the ground is steaming and smoking, and watched some university students doing research. The steam billowing out of the ground is really relaxing, although the sulfur smell is not so nice. Click on the pic for a view of the impact zone from halfway up the hill.

Note that there is danger in visiting Centralia so if you decide to go, be careful, stay out of low lying areas where gas could accumulate and don’t go alone. 

Saturday we meandered through the Delaware Water Gap park and recreation tree.jpgroad.jpgarea and made our way down to Lambertville, NJ/New Hope, PA, spent the night, did a bit of fruitless shopping in Lambertville, had a great brunch at the Lambertville Station, and came home via downtown Philadelphia. The pictures are from the Delaware Water Gap; it’s very pretty but I guess I get spoiled by the nearby Skyline Drive and expect multiple pull-offs and viewing areas. Philadelphia looked nice and is apparently eager to attract gay tourists; we may go back there, but no time soon-we’ve got to take advantage of spring which is coming to do a lot of work in the front and back gardens. I really like Bucks County, PA though; we always find something good to see or buy or eat there.

Speaking of Travel

Yehuda Levi On a HorseThere is/was a show in Israel called “Travel inYehuda Levi with an Apple Mexico” where our Yehuda Levi and Yael Bar Zohar, a female model, well, travel in Mexico and, well, look good together. Here’s some stills, and a video from it. Sorry to say, we’re getting ready to say goodbye to Mr. Levi (we’re already saying goodbye to Felipe, the miniobsession – normally when I pronounce that I next stumble across great stuff to share on our obsession guy, so don’t despair, Levy fans!)…

And finally this lovely warm view, sadly with the meddling woman…

Yehuda Levi with a Hat
(If only he’d get butterfingers!)

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